coronavirus

Tracking Consumer Comfort With Dining Out and Other Leisure Activities

Weekly updates on consumers’ comfort level with various pastimes

Getty Images / Morning Consult Illustration by Samantha Elbouez
May 22, 2020 at 12:01 am ET

As more local economies slowly reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, businesses across the country are facing a new challenge: Not everyone is comfortable venturing out just yet. 

Morning Consult is tracking consumers’ comfort level returning to the public sphere for pastimes, such as going to the movies or to the gym, amid the ongoing threat of COVID-19. As of mid-May, fewer than a quarter of U.S. adults say they feel safe engaging in a range of leisure activities. We’ll be updating this page every week with new data.

Share of U.S. adults who said they're currently comfortable doing the following:
April 29-30
May 12-15
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
Going out to eat
18
23
Going on vacation
18
23
Going to a shopping mall
17
23
Going to a museum
15
19
Going to the movies
12
16
Going to the gym
12
13
Going to an amusement park
12
14
Going to a concert
10
12
Traveling abroad
8
10

Polls conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults each, with a margin of error +/-2%.

Consumers are the most comfortable going out to eat, shopping or on a vacation, while traveling abroad and going to a concert are at the other end of the spectrum.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to prepare the country for a return to some pre-pandemic activity. This week, the CDC released guidance on how to go about reopening safely after stay-at-home orders lift. 

Share of U.S. adults who said they're currently comfortable going out to eat
April 29-30
May 12-15
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
All U.S. adults
18
23
Men
21
28
Women
16
18
Gen Z
21
23
Millennial
21
28
Gen X
18
24
Baby Boomer
15
20
Democrat
10
17
Independent
19
19
Republican
27
34
Income < $50k
17
24
Income $50k - $100k
17
22
Income > $100k
21
23
Urban area
18
23
Suburban area
18
22
Rural area
20
26

Polls conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults each, with a margin of error +/-2%. Date ranges without a dot indicate there was no change between that poll and the next one.

Many restaurants pivoted to carry-out service after state regulations restricted dine-in options, and the latest polling shows they may have to retain that model a bit longer: 23 percent of the public is currently comfortable going out to eat. That said, another analysis shows consumers are hungry to dine out again.

And although some restaurants may be eager to reopen, many are concerned about welcoming back customers too soon.

In Georgia, one of the first states to lift its shelter-in-place order, more than 50 restaurants took out an ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution announcing that they would not yet reopen after Gov. Brian Kemp said dine-in service would be allowed starting April 27.

Share of U.S. adults who said they're currently comfortable going to a shopping mall
April 29-30
May 12-15
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
All U.S. adults
17
23
Men
20
28
Women
13
18
Gen Z
18
22
Millennial
17
28
Gen X
15
22
Baby Boomer
15
20
Democrat
10
16
Independent
15
20
Republican
24
33
Income < $50k
18
23
Income $50k - $100k
13
22
Income > $100k
18
22
Urban area
16
21
Suburban area
17
21
Rural area
16
25

Polls conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults, with a margin of error +/-2%.

Shopping malls in states across the country are also beginning to reopen. Simon Property Group Inc., the largest mall owner in the United States, said on May 11 that it had reopened 77 of its U.S. retail properties. 

Millennials stand out in their comfort to enter malls again: Twenty-eight percent said they feel safe doing so now.

Share of U.S. adults who said they're currently comfortable going to the movies
April 29-30
May 12-15
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
All U.S. adults
12
16
Men
16
20
Women
9
13
Gen Z
19
19
Millennial
15
22
Gen X
14
17
Baby Boomer
9
11
Democrat
8
12
Independent
13
14
Republican
18
23
Income < $50k
13
16
Income $50k - $100k
12
16
Income > $100k
14
16
Urban area
13
15
Suburban area
11
15
Rural area
15
19

Polls conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults each, with a margin of error +/-2%. Date ranges without a dot indicate there was no change between that poll and the next one.

Movie theaters have been slower to reopen, with production of new films halted and release dates delayed amid the pandemic. Major theater chains have yet to formally announce plans to start selling tickets again; Cinemark Holdings Inc. said in a statement to Morning Consult that reopening likely won’t happen until mid-summer, with Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” scheduled as the first release for July 17, even as some states allow theaters to open sooner. 

Similar to findings on other leisure activities, Republicans and adults in rural spaces are more likely to say they currently feel comfortable going to the movies.

Joanna Piacenza contributed.

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